Reports of print’s demise are greatly exaggerated

Home Column Reports of print's demise are greatly exaggerated

print publishingWe at FCNews are obviously big proponents of print publishing and print advertising. Of course, we have a full menu of digital offerings as well, but our print publication is our flagship and primary source of revenue. Our advertising partners recognize the value of print, primarily because they recognize that our readers recognize the value of print.

Wherever you look, some pundit is touting digital as the future source of information. Digital is anything and everything on our phones and computers. Digital is social media. Digital marketing is everything that is not “traditional” marketing. But not only is print publishing never going away but, much to the surprise of some, it is actually staging a comeback. Yes, print is enjoying a renaissance of sorts and you’re not going to hear about it on TV.

FCNews is not surprised in the least. Our print advertising business has remained robust as we supplement that with digital offerings. Our biggest problem is an ongoing paper shortage, not to mention the cost of paper, which has doubled in the last couple of years. But despite these challenges, print publishing is showing signs of expansion. Chalk it up to the resiliency of the written word or the determination of print publishers, but the word on the street is watch for a print resurgence in the coming years.

Content marketing authority and entrepreneur Joe Pulizzi said, “Watch for a number of large brands to launch targeted print magazines.” He suggests people are sick of their digital devices, which spells opportunity for publishers to capitalize on the non-digital, more tactile space where printed publications reside. FCNews is no exception as we are always seeking to launch something new when we see a void in the market. Many turn to us for custom print publications, and that will only continue to increase.

This all makes sense, particularly since the shift to remote work ties most of us to our digital devices for long hours at home. Remote work burnout hit 69% of the U.S. population last year, driven in large part by digital interaction overload. During the pandemic, 61% of remote workers reported experiencing trouble unplugging.

According to Pulizzi, “People are looking to disconnect from their devices … If you have the means, thinking print may be an opportunity.”

Large brands are expected to introduce print products this year, particularly as the paper shortages from 2021 begin to rebound.

The numbers show a rising tide ready to float the print boat. Two Sides North America reported that 86% of consumers (and safe to say retailers as well) favor print over digital. Printpower.com reported 63% view print news as more trustworthy and able to provide a deeper understanding of current events. This plays into FCNews’ wheelhouse.

Then there are the stats supporting Pulizzi’s claim that we’re burning out on digital in favor of print. Data from marketingprofs.com reveals that 92% of 18- to 23-year-olds say print is easier to read than digital. When even the digital generation is suffering from digital fatigue, it validates what we as print publishers do and drives us to do more. The Wall Street Journal recently reported on big retailers creating buzz by releasing traditional print catalogs —and seeing sales grow as a result. Big brand names include Athleta, Bonobos, H&M, IKEA and Restoration Hardware.

According to Retail Dive, marketers seeking a truly omnichannel customer experience are now dividing spend between print and digital. It’s another statistical indicator of print’s resilience. Nowadays, younger generations are consuming almost as much print as their older counterparts. The data supports this:

  • Baby Boomers read 9.2 print publications per month.
  • Gen Xers read 9.1 print publications per month.
  • Millennials read 8.9 print publications per month.

Neither staffing shortages nor paper supply disruption will keep a good print publication down. In fact, it won’t prevent any of us from growing our business.

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November 11/14, 2022

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